At the weekend we took a train to Oxford and used the brilliant book Adventure Walks for Families in and around London to give our outing a theme. We've enjoyed a few of its suggested walks now, including one expedition that got us looking for dragons in a Buckinghamshire forest. This particular chapter led us to Port Meadow just outside Oxford - the very place on the river that inspired the stories of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland.
We took it in turns to wear the White Rabbit's ears, the Queen of Hearts' crown and a cupcake Alice band - as pictured below. To start proceedings we had a Mad Hatter's tea party picnic on the riverbank and then in alternating sunshine and showers we completed the lovely 3.5 mile walk through idyllic countryside - the dreaming spires of Oxford on the horizon. We collected about 20 swan feathers, spectacularly huge and pristinely white, and several fresh-water mussel shells; their glistening mother-of-pearl interiors tempting us to retrieve them despite the extremely muddy bank.
We had a caucus race to dry off after a particularly heavy shower of rain - with prizes of sweets. The children weren't too concerned about the lack of peppermints and thimble (the only things Alice had to hand in the story). Along the west bank of the river we spotted a rabbit warren and, in the distance, its shy inhabitants hopping happily around the meadow. It's easy to see how Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) got his idea for Alice to fall down a rabbit hole to begin her adventure - some of the burrows were enormous.
We meandered back along the River Thames watching and waving at the boats humming contentedly up and down the river. Buddy and Daisy completely charmed the members of one crew and got to help moor their boat - a unique experience they'll not forget in a hurry.
After such adventures - even without falling down rabbit holes or disappearing into a fantastical world - Buddy and Daisy were exhausted. Buddy managed to stay awake and enjoyed a good read of our abridged version of Alice's adventures, but Daisy drifted off to sleep - no doubt dreaming about her very own Wonderland.